Arrival

Time moves differently here than it did in Dovetail, and I’m grateful for it. I’m busy almost all day, helping Elodie and Master Cameron, who runs the medical tent. I’m learning loads about herbs and potions and basic spells to help heal wounds and banish infection.

“Low magic,” Elodie teases me, but it’s such a relief to feel useful for once. At Dovetail I used to walk the halls and grounds and listen to everyone chatter about things that I didn’t care about and really didn’t matter at all, but at camp it’s like everything has a purpose. Count Caleb left about a week after we arrived, explaining that it was time for him to go home.

I miss him, and I know my father does. He’s been restless lately, like he knew something was going to happen soon. Of course he was right, since today everything changed. Two scouts came running from the perimeter saying that six riders were coming, two of them dressed in guard uniforms. I swallowed. A few hours later it was clear what was happening.

The twins had returned, and with them were Count Caleb, his wife, Countess Olivia, and two others, a boy, who I could only assume was Viscount Aaron, he looked almost exactly like his father, with curly auburn hair, and a soft face, and blue eyes that seemed to be perpetually laughing, and a girl.

I knew her immediately, though unlike in my Dreams, my cousin Annalise didn’t look fierce and spoiling for a fight when I first saw her. She looked unsure, as if she was out of place and worried that she’d wandered into the wrong room.

“You should go,” Elodie said, as I stared at them approaching. I felt frozen, but nodded walking.

“Lady Marina!” The Countess exclaimed coming off of her horse. I smiled at her. I liked Countess Olivia, she’d always been kind to me. Her dark hair was tied back in a braid today. “I think you’ve grown.”

“I don’t think so, Your Grace,” I said softly. I tried to keep looking at her, but I kept staring at the Princess, who looked at me and smiled shyly.

“Perhaps not,” The count smiled and dismounted. Sir Tristan and Lady Athena joined him. I wanted to hug Tristan, but he kept his distance. “May I present my son, Viscount Aaron.”

“It’s a pleasure, Viscount,” I said, curtseying. He bowed and smirked.

“I believe it’s my pleasure,” he said taking my hand and kissing it. I saw Lady Athena roll her eyes, and Sir Tristan tense a bit.

“Aaron,” Annalise finally spoke up, “don’t flirt with her.” She dismounted. We were eye to eye, I don’t know why I thought she’d be taller than I am, but she might even be smaller.

“This is Princess Annalise, Lady Marina,” Lady Athena spoke up. “Lisette, may I present your cousin Lady Marina Sanpierre of Brightcoast.”

“I’m pleased to finally meet you,” Annalise said as I curtsied, “please don’t,” she wrinkled her nose and stood up again. “Tristan tells me that you’re a seer.”

“I have True Dreams,” I managed to squeak. We started walking. “Half the time I don’t even know what they mean until it’s already come to pass.”

“Oh,” she nodded, “I’ve found that too, it’s always helped when I talk about it with Anselm, though he’s awfully cross about the seeing.” She stretched, “goddess, I’m exhausted.”

“It’s a long ride,” I said, “I couldn’t sit properly for days after we arrived.” She laughed. “If you’re feeling up to it I’m sure my father would like it if you ate with us tonight.”

“I’d like that,” she said and took both of my hands, we’d reached the tent where the Count and Countess were staying, and I assumed, Princess Annalise as well. “We’re family, I hope we’ll be friends too.” I nodded and walked back to the tent. Papa was sitting pouring over a book.

“I invited the princess to eat with us,” I said.

“Oh she’s come then,” he said. I nodded. “Are you alright?” I nodded again and the tent flap parted. Sir Tristan was standing there. “Oh, Sir Tristan, it’s nice to see you.”

“It’s nice to see you Duke Lestat,” he said. He smiled at me. “I thought you might like to go for a walk.”

“I would.” I said and we went out. It was quiet, but he’s always quiet.

“I feel like I should thank you,” he said, “for taking care of General Martin.” I nodded. “He wrote us. Athena is yelling at him now.” I smiled.

“It wasn’t anything really,” I shook my head. He nodded. “I’m glad you’re back. I,” I swallowed. “I missed you.” He smiled at me and hugged me close.

“I missed you,” he said softly. “A lot changed over the past few months.” I smiled.

“I can’t wait to hear about it,” I said, “but I should get to the medical tent, I have patients.” He nodded. “Come to dinner, tonight. I’m sure The Princess won’t mind.” I smiled the whole walk to the tent.

He missed me. I could live on it.

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